Perfect wine picks to go with store cupboard meals during lockdown

Most of us are shopping far less than usual due to the coronavirus outbreak. Which can mean making meals from store cupboard ingredients rather than fresh produce. While this could make mealtimes less exciting than normal, the good news is it’s simple to pair wines with store cupboard meals and get more flavour from your dinner.

Classics like baked beans on toast, simple pasta and pesto or tomato sauce can be refined with a good glass of wine. And while many of the things we like to do are off limits for the time being, what could be better than taking the time to enjoy a well-matched wine with your meal.

Perfect wine picks to go with simple store cupboard meals

We’ve done wine pairing articles before, but mostly focusing on dinner party food. Here we’ve picked some wines to go with simple meals you can rustle up from ingredients in your store cupboard.

  1. Baked beans on toast

Pair this family favourite with red wines hailing from warm climates. Baked beans have long been a favourite in the UK, thanks to their combination of a reduction of vinegar and sugar to form the sauce. Reds with plenty of fruit from warm wine regions go really well with baked beans. For example, you could choose an Australian shiraz or a merlot from Chile. A great choice of the latter is Lorosco Reserva Maipo merlot 2017. It has an intensely enjoyable flavour with fruity aromas of plum and blackberry combining with hints of toast and vanilla. The soft tannins in this wine make it the perfect pairing with the comforting flavours of beans on toast.

  1. Instant noodles – chicken and mushroom flavour

We’ve all got a Pot Noodle or two hiding in the cupboard, or ideally one of the more refined versions. And while it can be difficult to match wines with broth or soup, the chicken and mushroom flavours are easier to match. Try your noodles with a Chardonnay with a lightly oaked finish, such as La Reverence 2018. Its golden straw colour combines with summery fruit flavours of melon and peach, all perfectly balanced with a crisp finish. It’s made from a combination of grapes: Minervois and Roussillon, and this is what gives it the fresh, minerally flavour profile. It goes very well with meaty and vegetable flavours.

  1. Tuna pasta in a tomato sauce

Another meal easy to whip up in minutes from store cupboard ingredients, this dish calls out for lightly tannined red wines. Beaujolais is an ideal match with all kinds of oily fish, including tuna, and as it’s a medium bodied wine it goes well with the rich sweetness of a tomato sauce. Try Oedoria Beaujolais Rouge 2017, which has an intense colour, fruity aromas and pleasantly smooth tannins.

  1. Pasta and pesto

When you want a bit more oomph to your pasta, pesto is always a good bet. It’s a simple but tasty dish thanks to the pesto’s ingredients of oil, herbs and cheese, and it needs a wine that’s also simple but delicious. Match it with something like Eschehof Holzer, Wagran, Gruner Veltliner 2018 from Austria, for its uncomplicated fruit and acidity balance. Expect hints of pepper, apple and peach in this organic white wine.

  1. Instant ramen

Turn to a Japanese vibe for your store cupboard meal with a spiced up instant ramen for dinner. And if you don’t have any Sake to go with it, you could choose a white wine packed with body to complement the broth and noodle dish. Tatsuuma-Honke Brewery, Isake Classic Junmai Ginjo is a wine resulting from a fascinating partnership between a Japanese expert in sake and a French sommelier. It has a distinctive and unique lend of melon, walnut, peach and Sake rices, with a long, refreshing finish.

 

Online wine sales are increasing due to coronavirus

With billions of people now under some form of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world, there have been major changes in the way people are shopping.

Bars, restaurants and cafes are all shut down in the UK, in much of Europe and across some of North America among other regions. With everyone housebound, wine aficionados have had to find new ways to ensure they have enough in. And naturally this has meant a huge uptick in online wine sales.

Online wine sales are rapidly increasing

The wine industry is going through a patch of sales that is rivalling, if not beating, the Christmas rush. For example, US based wine club Winc told Forbes that it has seen an increase of 578% in new members week over week. Sales are also rising fast, with a 49.6% increase in consumer direct sales.

According to Nielsen, wine sales in the US were up by 27.6% in the week ending 14 March 2020, compared with the same week in 2019. Wine app Vivino is also showing massive increases, with its highest recorded sales date on 13 March 2020. In both the US (162%) and Italy (282%), the app has seen a huge increase of merchandise sold.

Now that the majority of people are working form home and having to enforce strict social distancing measures, home consumption of wine will continue to rise. And alongside this will be a wider take up of ecommerce for the wine sector. While wine sales online have always been relatively popular, they’ve lagged behind sales in pubs, bars and restaurants. As this is temporarily halted, we will continue to see the ecommerce sector for wine sales expand.

Some sellers are struggling to keep up with demand

Other smaller wine companies in America have also witnessed sales take off rapidly. Gold Medal is an independent wine club that curates limited production wines from California. Owner David Chesterfield explained to Forbes that the company has seen an increase in revenue of $517,800 in 28 days when compared with the previous 28 days. This is more than a 200% increase.  Some small wine shops are hastily moving online for the first time, in order to keep employees paid and businesses going.

Here in the UK, the situation is much the same. Since 21 March, when the bars, restaurants and clubs were formally closed by the government as part of the nation’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus, sales of wine and other alcoholic drinks continue to climb.

Some online wine sellers have had to temporarily pause orders in order to keep on top of restocking. Naked Wines told the Times that: “… we’ve made the decision to temporarily pause accepting orders while we work through existing ones.” Sales for French and Italian wines for the company jumped to 68% last week, and English wine sales are also increasing.

It remains to be seen how online retailers will cope with the surge in demand, and how much of these sales increases are down to stockpiling. Pubs are beginning to sell alcohol as takeout as part of creative ways to keep in business, and this could bring online sales down again.

However, at Ideal Wine Company, we believe this could be a turning point for wine and ecommerce. As people become used to buying wine online during the pandemic, it’s highly likely that this will continue when restaurants and pubs begin to open their doors again.

How is coronavirus affecting the global wine industry

Coronavirus continues to cause concern around the world, affecting global stocks and many business sectors. And there is also fallout within the wine industry around the world.

The virus has now reached every continent apart from Antarctica, with countries including China and Iran suffering the highest number of fatalities so far. And as consumers in China cut back on buying wine, and cases remain stranded at customs, winemakers are seeing stocks fall.

Coronavirus is affecting wine industry

China is the biggest market for luxury wine in the world. The country accounts for just under a third of LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) sales, which covers Cloudy Bay, Dom Perignon and Moet & Chandon. China also accounts for 10% of all sales of Pernod Ricard, which includes Jacob’s Creek and Campo Viejo.

And as the market slows, global brands are expecting major hits to sales. Spain’s biggest wine company, Torres, expects a 50% fall in March 2020. Bordeaux wines, which are very popular in China and the wider Asian market, fell 38.3% in the second week of February. According to Liv-ex, this is a record low.

Australia is also seeing strong hits to wine sales, particularly following the massive fires of recent months. With vineyard damage affecting some sales, other grapes have been affected by smoke taint. China imports about $1.3 billion worth of wine from Australia each year, which is 20% of the national crop. According to Forbes, sales were down for Australia wine by 90% in January and February 2020.

Wine shows are being postponed

China was due to host the massive China Food & Drinks Fair in Chengdu this month, but it has had to be postponed due to the virus. This annual show attracts 300,000 buyers and 3,000 exhibitors and aims to link up global distributors and promoters.

Other shows including the China International Alcoholic Drinks Expo (CIADE), TaoWine and the TWC Chengdu Fine Wine Showcase have also been moved to later in the year.

Imports have been particularly affected by coronavirus, due to dwindling numbers of customs officials. For example, usually around 33% of all Chilean wine goes to China but since the start of the year, exports have dropped by 60%. Before the outbreak of the virus, China imported approximately 350 containers of Chilean wine every day. Right now, 50 cases are going through customs daily. The rest are stuck at the port.

Exports are rerouted to ease port congestion

To mitigate the backlogs at Chinese ports, brands are trying to reroute shipments. However, with Italy and other countries reporting more cases every day, and more than 50,000 people under quarantine, alternative routes may also be difficult to access.

In China there has also been a huge fall in operating income across food and drinks businesses. According to the China Culinary Association, operating income has dropped 100% across more than three-quarters of businesses. This means that while food and drink companies are paying wages, insurance and rent, no money is coming in.

Fewer people are going out to eat and drink, which is also impacting wine sales. And while brands are trying to increase deliveries to make up for the money they’re losing, drivers are reluctant to risk catching the virus. Despite this, alcohol delivery companies have seen a 50% growth in February in China, after a leap of 60% over the Chinese New Year.

As the virus continues to spread, it’s likely that fine wine collectors and regular consumers will notice shortages in supply.